EU says no single market for asset management

EUROPE – The European Commission has said the single market is “not a reality” for asset management and clearing and settlement.

“My assessment of my brief has brought up matters such as asset management, clearing and settlement, and retail financial services where the single market is not a reality,” incoming internal market and services commissioner Charlie McCreevy told MEPs. “This is to the detriment of businesses and consumers."

The comments came as Ireland’s McCreevy, 54, was being grilled in a confirmation hearing with the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committees.

Last month McCreevy said in a written response to MEPs’ questions that “targeted legislative action” in asset management and other areas may be appropriate.

McCreevy also told the hearing that he was “anti-harmonisation” in tax matters. He said: “Taxation remains a matter for the member states. It is at the core of representative democracy and Member States are right to guard jealously their rights on taxation."

And he added that he as reluctant to bring forward “heavy laws” on corporate openness.

"In recent years, there have been moves to increased openness because shareholders need more information. We may be able to make recommendations, but I would be a little reluctant to bring forward heavy laws, because other parts of the globe don't have the same consideration, thus putting Europe at a competitive disadvantage.”

He said: “Ultimately, it is up to investors to make up their own minds after clear disclosure."

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